South Sydney enforcer Sam Burgess has leapt to the defence of Latrell Mitchell, declaring the Roosters star "no grub" despite forcing the Englishman off the field with a high shot in Friday's explosive NRL encounter.
Mitchell on Saturday avoided suspension after being fined for a grade-one careless high tackle that led to Burgess needing a 15-minute spell for head injury assessments.
Burgess admitted he'd have fumed if the Roosters reeled in Souths' lead during his absence, but said clips around the ears were part of the game.
"Listen, Latrell's not a grub," Burgess said.
"He plays the game hard, he gets the game. He's a physical guy, he wanted to be physical and sometimes a player crosses the line and gets it wrong.
"I understand that. I'm exactly the same."
An early guilty plea from Mitchell will leave the the Kangaroos and NSW State of Origin centre $1650 out of pocket, but he will miss no football.
Burgess certainly wasn't impressed at missing 15 minutes of action in the tense final quarter of Friday's match, which erupted on several occasions.
But he accepted strict new NRL guidelines aimed at improving player welfare.
"I'm never happy coming off. I don't like coming off," said Burgess, who won the Clive Churchill Medal in Souths' 2014 grand final win despite breaking his cheekbone in the very first hit-up of the night.
"I passed the (HIA) test on the field, I passed the test off the field so there's no problem. But the game's trying to protect players so I guess you've got to respect the rules.
"I'm obviously just glad we didn't lose the game in that period."
Australian Associated Press